Former army chief Gen Bajwa sought extension for another term but denied, claims Siddiqui

Says ex-PM Sharif was against bringing a no-trust motion against then prime minister Imran Khan

Claims Gen Bajwa had proposed a name for his successor other than sitting Army Chief General Asim Munir: Nawaz wanted early elections.


ISLAMABAD    -    Senator Irfan Siddiqui made a disclosure on Sunday by claiming that former Chief of Army Staff General (retd) Qa­mar Javed Bajwa had sought another extension beyond No­vember 2022 but was flatly denied by the PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif.

General Bajwa had been seeking an extension for an­other term and that some se­nior leaders of Pakistan Mus­lim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had also advised Nawaz Sharif to consider the request, he said while talking to a select group of reporters here.

“However, Sharif remained steadfast in his belief that there should be no question of even one day’s extension,” said PML-N Senator Siddiqui, a close confidant to former three-time prime minister Sharif.

Former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Bajwa had re­tired on November 29 last year after completing his two terms including an extension for three years. In November 2016, then prime minister Sharif had appointed him commander of the Pakistan Army for a period of three years.

Senator Siddiqui said that Gen­eral Bajwa had later proposed a name for his successor other than the sitting Army Chief Gen­eral Asim Munir. But the govern­ment asserted itself to get the senior most officer elevated to the position, he also said.

He said that even in 2019, Sharif was vehemently against the extension of General Bajwa and the associated legislation. “Immense pressure from some members of Muslim League (N) persuaded him to accept the decision as a temporary mea­sure,” he said. He added that Sharif to this day, considered the extension to have been a wrong decision.

Academician-turned politi­cian Siddiqui further revealed that ex-premier Sharif was not in favor of bringing a no-con­fidence motion against then prime minister Imran Khan, de­spite the widespread public dis­contentment with his govern­ment. “Instead, Sharif believed that if allowed to continue, Khan’s government would ulti­mately self-destruct under the weight of its own anti-people policies.” He went on to explain that it was only after a great deal of cajoling by senior lead­ers of PML-N and other par­ties that Sharif agreed with the condition that, after Imran’s re­moval, the Pakistan Democrat­ic Movement(PDM) led govern­ment would enact necessary legislation only to resign imme­diately. It was also decided that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would resign in May last year to pave way for general elections in September 2022.

“Elections were offered to Khan on a plate but he missed out this golden opportunity due to his stubbornness,” he said. He also said that the bul­lying tactics of Khan forced the incumbent ruling alliance to re­vise its plans. Senator Siddiqui shared that Senior Vice Pres­ident PML-N Maryam Nawaz, like her father Mian Nawaz Sharif, was also opposed to the continuation of the PDM gov­ernment after the successful no-confidence motion. In fact, on several occasions, Maryam expressed her dissatisfac­tion with the situation, stating “Why should we carry this bas­ket of filth on our heads.” Mian Nawaz Sharif made his stance clear that PM Shahbaz Sharif should resign by May 25. “Ev­erything had been settled.”

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